Amnesty & The “Stretch” Exception Part Of New CBA

lockoutAmong all the doom-and-gloom reporting after Thursday’s talks are some points on which both sides actually did agree.  Howard Beck of the New York Times (h/t Sheridan Hoops) has a rundown of those points, incluidng an amnesty clause and “stretch exception”.

There will be a one-time “amnesty” provision that will allow each team to waive a player (with pay) without his salary counting against the salary cap.

There will be a “stretch” exception, available every year, allowing teams to waive players and stretch out their remaining salary over a number of seasons, thus reducing the annual salary-cap hit.

The stretch exception will be interesting to see in action.  How will capped-out teams be able to use it?  Can it be applied to injured players?  What if a player retires in the middle of the stretch?  Can those stretch exceptions be traded away like trade exceptions are now?  

I’m sure I can keep going, and I’m sure some brilliant GM’s and capologists will figure out wonderful ways to manipulate that.  

Meanwhile, amnesty will become a reality.  So the Rashard Lewises and Gilbert Arenases of the world are about to get axed.  

Right away, I see the Orlando Magic as the biggest beneficiary of these new elements.  Desperate to build some kind of winner around Dwight Howard, the Magic can now cut Arenas with no cap hit and then use the stretch exception on Hedo Turkoglu.  Losing Arena’s salary alone brings the Magic payroll down to just under $57 million, which isn’t far from where the salary cap will be set.  Turkoglu makes 11 million this season, which will bring the overall salary number down under $50 million, depending on how much they can spread out over the next few seasons.  With those two moves, the Magic will be under the cap 

I’m sure in the coming days every team site everywhere will start examining how their teams will use these new toys.  And I’m sure once a deal DOES get done, we’ll see some interesting moves (I’m looking at you, Atlanta Hawks, with Joe Johnson’s contract).  But the moral of this story is that some stuff DID actually get done this week.  And, as Beck reported, don’t be shocked if we start hearing about more talks soon.  Because that’s how these talks have gone.  Every positive comes with a negative, and vice versa.